The Rise of Generic Drugs for Pets

PetMD Editorial
Published: July 06, 2011
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Five years ago generic drugs for pets made up an estimated 5 percent of animal health products. The numbers have since doubled to about 10 percent.

There are over 86 million cats and 78 million dogs living today in the United States as pets. The industry was once almost entirely in the hands of Pfizer and Merck, an industry of about $3.8 billion annually spent on companion animals.

"We've been saying that this is the dawn of the bull market for generic animal health drugs," notes Robert Fountain II, president of Fountain Agricounsel LLC, who is confident that generics will take up 50 percent of medicine for the pet population in the near future.

When it comes to human medicine in America, an estimated 72 percent of prescriptions are filled with generics according to Jean Hoffman, founder and CEO of Putney, a Portland-based pet pharmaceutical company. Hoffman sees plenty of opportunity for generics to help lower costs for owners looking to treat their pets for diabetes, skin infections, and even anxiety. She believes that the availability of generic drugs for human-use save the consumer around 25 percent.

"There are very few generic drugs approved for pets," Hoffman said in an interview with AP in her Portland office. "We see that as the need."

She expects her company to grow from a net worth of $10 million to $150 million by 2015.

Currently vets can prescribe medicine based on four options: human-approved branded or generic and pet-approved branded or generic. Offering more accessibility and options for treatments, owners whose budgets before couldn’t provide for their loved one will soon new opportunities to increase the quality of their pet’s life. 

And with more patents expiring over the next few years, even more generic drugs are surely to be on the way to pet owners.

Image: Michael Chen / via Flickr

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